Programme 9: 23rd December 2007
Adam Walton examines the science behind the headlines and reveals the latest scientific research in Wales.
Sunday 23rd December at 5.03pm
(Repeated Wednesday 26th December at 9.30pm)
Review of the Year
Dr. Roger Highfield, Science Editor of the Daily Telegraph joins Adam at the Science Cafe this week to review the major scientific achievements of 2007. They include breakthroughs which add to our understanding of the human genome and human genetic variation; a development in artificial intelligence by Canadian scientists who've created a program which can win or draw at draughts against any opponent; and research which suggests that cosmic rays may be coming from belching black holes!
Adam also considers the more bizarre areas of scientific research in 2007 with Andrew Impey and Mark Steer from Null Hypothesis, a website which describes itself as 'The Journal of Unlikely Science'. Their favourite stories include the rubber ducks which are giving us new insights into ocean currents and the discovery that the appendix isn't as useless as we thought. And at Null Hypothesis they admit that they're not averse to making stories up from time to time: take a deep breath and discover how they've solved the problem of climate change.
A Good Read
If you're looking for a good read over Christmas, The Science Cafe is here to help. Mark Brake, Professor of Science Communication at the University of Glamorgan has been browsing the bookshelves to select his favourite popular science and science fiction books. Here are his recommendations:
'Guns, Germs and Steel: A Short History of Everybody for the Last 13000 Years' by Jared M. Diamond (Vintage Books);
'The Blood of the Isles' by Bryan Sykes (Corgi Books);
'Quicksilver: The Baroque Cycle' by Neal Stephenson (Arrow Books);
'A Science Fiction Omnibus' Edited by Brian Aldiss (Penguin Classics)
This week's experiment shows how it's possible for jolly old Santa to get down a narrow chimney. Dr. Diane Gray of the Techniquest @ NEWI Science Discovery Centre in Wrexham proves it with a boiled egg and a milk bottle. However, the experiment doesn't go entirely as planned...
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